PETA and other animal organizations have campaigned against SeaWorld for years, saying that their captive orcas are stressed and deteriorating due to living and performing in captivity, often resulting in incidents with their trainers as well. A lawsuit was recently filed by PETA, Ric O’Barry and marine mammal experts in which the group claimed that SeaWorld “enslaved” the orcas, but was dismissed by a judge who determined the orcas to be “non-persons” and therefore not protected under the 13th Amendment.
Now, toy company Mattel has jumped on the SeaWorld bandwagon with a new “Whale Trainer Barbie” and PETA is not buying it. The organization writes, “Barbie has been fur-free and an animal rights activist for years. But America’s favorite doll has taken a dangerous turn, thanks to famous toymaker Mattel and infamous animal abuser SeaWorld. The companies have released a Whale Trainer Barbie, an ill-advised doll that would be more accurately called ‘Barbaric.'”
PETA says SeaWorld puts their human trainers in danger as well by sending them into the water with the stressed orcas, and that the Barbie should reflect the situation. In their letter to Mattel, they write “[C]hildren were traumatized when they witnessed Tilikum pull trainer Dawn Brancheau underwater and kill her by thrashing her into the walls of the tank, separating her scalp and pulling her arm out of its socket. This was that particular orca’s third human killing. Orcas in captivity are held prisoner in tiny concrete tanks, deprived of all that is natural to them. They suffer from extreme physical and psychological distress and what has been described as rage and frustration over their unnatural confinement and loss of family and all freedom. If you continue this partnership with SeaWorld, the doll should be made more realistic: It should have detachable limbs and be black and blue.”
PETA has asked Mattel to pull the “Whale Trainer Barbie” off the shelves. They ask, “If not, what’s next? Grand Theft Auto Barbie?”
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